Cleveland Food Tour: Burntwood Tavern

Nestled in the corner near the Regal Cinemas and across from favorites Bar Louie and Hyde Park sits the Burnwood Taven at the Promenade in Crocker Park (Westlake). It’s a very large space with a good sized front covered patio with ample seating for libations and people watching — which is a grand sport in and of itself at Crocker Park which is about as diverse and eclectic as a small town in Alaska.

But I digress. Burnwood Tavern boasts a massive and highly enviable copper top bar that makes a rectangle at the front of the space, with seating behind and next to the well stocked bar. The signature drinks varied from creative to standard fare, but no matter what you could possible be wanting as an apertif, they surely had and then some. The decor is rustic as the name suggests, with a combination of exposed timbers, plaster walls and brick.

The menu was also rather expansive, catering to the varied tastes of suburban white women in their ’40s. There were salads, sandwiches and entrees, and a nice selection of appetizers. However, the menu read much better than reality, and while the creativity seemed to be there, we found the food to be a tad bland and predictable. Odd, because there were absolutely no salt and pepper shakers on any table in the entire place — presumably because the chef believed the food was seasoned to perfection.

We had a salmon BLT wrap w/ hand cut fries and a 1/2 cod and 1/2 salad combo.

The 1/2 cod sandwich was huge, so i don’t know what a full cod sandwich would be, and it was very well battered and tasteful, but you had to ask for tartar sauce which was delivered later (we’ll get to that in a moment). The side salad (their house salad in this case) was very good and fresh. The salmon BLT however was sloppy, wet and tasted…weird. It had an odd slimy sauce in it and the fries were cold and desperately lacked seasoning. And, since there were no salt or pepper shakers — that’s how it was. If you’ve ever had the Tellers (in Hyde Park, Cincinnati) Salmon BLT, that was a very good version and highly recommended. This one, no, almost not edible, the wrap was burnt (it is burntwood, but i don’t think that’s what they mean). Because this was a critique, we don’t send food back but this was deserving of the trash and not our mouth.

But, the biggest problem with the Burntwood Tavern was the service — it was abysmal. We were there on an off time (about 2:30) so I would say there were 5 tables and a few random folks at the bar and on the patio. Three servers, a manager/host, and two bartenders seems to be plenty to manage 10 diners but the service was woefully slow. And, that is why we’re guessing the food was cold as well. We literally had to track down the waitress to get our check so we could leave as we waited likely 30 minutes for the food, and likely another 15 after the meal was well completed to get a check. The server was friendly enough, and there is a fine line between coming back too often and not enough, we saw her when we ordered, delivered, and paid.

All in all, the Burntwood Tavern has a really cool atmosphere and it has grand potential. It seems to be a great place to go after work for a cocktail with colleagues. But, if it’s going to be a lunch and dinner destination, the food and the service need a serious upgrade and refresh. 2 out of 5.







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